Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan has dismissed as “misleading and grossly inaccurate” Opposition claims that recipients of the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will not have a route to other forms of social housing.
“The new Housing Assistance Payment is the most radical reform of social housing support in decades. It transforms the system of rent supplement which is widely recognised as not being fit for purpose.The new Housing Assistance Payment will benefit those households who require assistance with their housing needs,” she asserted on this Tuesday.
The minister said: It will ensure that all long-term housing support is accessed through each local authority, rather than the current fractured system that involves the Department of Social Protection making payments, with people joining waiting lists to access the local authority system;
It will ensure that people can take up employment and still retain housing support;
It will improve standards of accommodation for tenants, with a more coherent system of inspection under the control of the local authority;
It will remove the possibility of tenant arrears for landlords and encourage more landlords to accept housing assistance tenants.
“Opposition claims that recipients of HAP will be excluded from moving to other forms of social housing – such as traditional local authority housing or units provided by Approved Housing Bodies – are misleading and grossly inaccurate.
“The new system will specifically provide a route for HAP tenants to apply for other social housing options. HAP tenants will exercise this option through inclusion on a transfer list that allows tenants avail of a range of housing options. In allocation schemes adopted when HAP is in place local authorities will make provision to allocate available units to people on the transfer list.
“HAP is a radical reform and it will entail changes in how we provide all social housing support. This reform is long overdue and I regret that some have chosen to muddy the waters and spread confusion rather than support a much-needed reform,” Minister O’Sullivan said.